Comments on: America’s problematic remote control wars Tue, 31 Mar 2015 01:18:20 +0000 hourly 1 By: BajaArizona Tue, 19 Jul 2011 16:15:54 +0000 I’m going to go way out on a limb here and suggest old turtleneck Bernd doesn’t like Americans very much. Can’t say I don’t empathize, I’m American and I don’t like us much either. Yet I’m not so blind as to think other peoples are any better. Sure, the Dutch are very nice people. So nice they didn’t lift a finger as thousands of people were murdered while they watched in Sbrenica. People were shot and women raped right in front of their compound while the Dutch soldiers just sat around. But otherwise, they’re perfect and we should all try to be more like them.

Switzerland, ah what a beautiful peaceful, haven’t gone to war since 1648. What a wonderful place. Especially if you want a bank to put all the wonderful stolen paintings, gold taken pulled from the teeth of prisoners, and other loot acquired while exterminating 12 million civilians in death camps. (Pet Peeve: Nazis killed 6 million Jews, but you almost never hear quoted the actual number of systematic civilian exterminations including Poles, Chechs, Gypsies, Slavs, Homosexuals, etc.)

By: BajaArizona Sun, 17 Jul 2011 21:17:09 +0000 Same story, different characters. The US is morally equivalent to the Taliban and Al-Queda. Except when the US is shirking its duty do go into Syria, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia(!) just to name recent examples of Europeans and/or Middle Easterners calling on our help. At some point (possibly soon) the US will be unable to protect Europe from without (example: Russia) or within (example: Kosovo) because we are going to be broke. Meanwhile China bides its time. Hopefully, the aristocratic class who runs China will not start a war over Taiwan when they realize we can’t/won’t defend the island democracy. If they do attack, guess who will get the blame?

That’s right, the bad bad evil horrible Sauron of nations, the United States of America.

I’m a liberal American and I’m aghast at the disintegration of our previously rational conservative half into raving lunatics. They caused a lot of death and destruction with George W. Bush.

But we didn’t deserve 9/11. And we have to protect ourselves from another one. We have to stop them every time, they only have to succeed once. There are loose nukes entering the fray now. Not just leftovers from the Soviets, but Pakistan is making 20 more a year and Iran can probably now at least build a dirty bomb. If we disengage again (like we did in the 90s) they will get through. They may get through anyway. And here’s a special note to all the Europeans, they very well may decide to hit you. The logic behind their attacks is no logic at all. Doesn’t matter if you sympathize with them, doesn’t even matter if you’re Muslim. They will kill whoever they can, as they’ve shown over and over and over.

Yet we are the bad guys because Europeans don’t care for Americans. I don’t even much care for Americans (I’m equally misanthopic in my estimation of homo sapiens, we all are pathetic). Maybe without this terrorism we secular liberals would have been in a stronger position to keep our country from re-electing GWB and/or prevent the Iraq invasion. So much has been lost. But never forget the guilty ones. The ones who even know are racking their brains over how to intentionally kill mass civilians. And its not the US.

The fact is that drones and robots are here and they will become used in vastly more advanced ways before you would believe it. In ten years the state of the art will be almost unrecognizable compared with what we see today. Iran gave Hezbollah drones which they used against Israel way back in 2006. Drone warfare is cheap and accessible. It has already filtered down to the terrorists. It will be a terrifying new world soon.

By: paintcan Sun, 17 Jul 2011 16:53:36 +0000 If “the enemy” is seen as beneath contempt – what hope does the victor have of winning “hearts and minds” when in his own heart and mind there really isn’t anything human to convert to his own point of view?

I used to think the Roman empire was brutal but the modern weapons. starting with the Nukes, and now child’s play drone warfare, mean not even the operator should feel all that secure that the machine that sends these aircraft will not turn against it’s temporary operators.
That the plot of many Sci-Fi shows I could footnote – if I knew how to footnote these comment boxes.

The history of modern warfare since the latter half of the 19th century, has been one of larger and more indiscriminate total war – where formerly civilian production capability was converted to military use. It admits to itself that warfare is based on the desire of whole populations and there are no innocents. There were far more civilian dead after WWII then there were military casualties. The Vietnam war seemed to be one where civilians were seen as nothing but “gooks”. There was a lot of collateral damage.

If Cayotte is really seeing civilian police budgets to purchase drone and other military hardware, he might not want to get too worked up over it. Cities and towns can’t balance their budgets now. How excited will they be to start taking on the staggering costs of the high tech toys the Pentagon likes to play with?

I for one don’t think mankind will ever be wiser than his inventions because it is very difficult for one person to pass wisdom on to another, let alone to make a mass of people wise. It is also difficult to know everything that an invention will do until it’s done it.

By: coyotle Fri, 15 Jul 2011 21:41:36 +0000 Law enforcement agencies and their ruling elected bodies around the U.S. are seeking legal authority and appropriations to purchase drones. What purpose could they have in mind with such a devastating weapon of destruction.

I thought the U.S. was a God fearing Christian nation. Those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Does such wisdom apply to nations as well as individuals?

The American People are unaware of the terrible deeds against the People of other lands perpetrated by our government for over sixty years now. Our leaders have not been honest with us. Our government has kept the People in the dark as to what is really done with our money(tax revenue). Those who sow a foul crop must eventually reap that harvest.

By: John2244 Sat, 09 Jul 2011 20:05:55 +0000 Throughout history, militaries during times of order have fought according to cultural rules and norms. When you go outside those rules then we have “atrocities” or “barbarians”.

Warfare had to adapt to the industrialization after the civil war. And treaties were written around it.

The point of the article is not pro or anti drone. Its just that before where a drone would replace a fighter/bomber mission – now they are so many, so cheap and so accurate they have created their own drone specific missions. We would never have ran so many targeted sorties before. The nature of the mission has changed.

So the question is should there be rules or conventions. Should the US lead in creating limits and legal law or just do as they wish. You can argue whatever you want but it will only be 30 years before drones are available to almost every major military so better to codify rules when you are ahead. One drone attack on the US will have 1000 times the economic impact on us than 1000 attacks will have on Somalia. Same applies to cyberwarfare, space warfare, etc. If you run roughshod, eventually it will catchup with you.

By: Tamooj Sat, 09 Jul 2011 18:18:32 +0000 No one is advocating ‘mustard gas’ (except Saddam Hussein, and we see where that got him). But to say that civilian casualties are lighter when we use drones is silly and not supported by any real facts. Yes, militants move amongst civilians, although probably not because they want shields as much as because they LIVE in these villages and go home to eat dinner and bring in the goats. Does that mean we have the legal or moral authority to interrupt their family dinner by ramming a Hellfire missile through the wall, killing man, women and children? I call bullsh&# on any moral argument that claims this is a legitimate way to conduct a war – At least in a firefight with ground troops every soldier gets to make the call; do I pull the trigger when I see a civilian running for cover? The missile’s seeker head doesn’t have this ability to discriminate, and the CIA shift manager who gives the firing green light has no incentive to care. It’s Vietnam ‘body-counts’ all over again… Just watch CNN or Fox and see how the biggest part of the Pentagon’s press release is “X number of insurgents killed” without regard to any discussion of EVIDENCE, PROOF, etc. We’re just fulfilling the bizarre need of Americans to simplify complex issues and to rationalize away our not-so-secret desire to drop bombs on any little brown people who get mad enough at us to pick up a gun. This is a losing proposition on every axis – Counterinsurgency is about removing the validity of the enemies cause, not about making more insurgents who hate us because we killed their mothers and little sisters during dinner.

By: Tamooj Sat, 09 Jul 2011 18:05:52 +0000 So, the part of the dialog I see commonly glossed over; This looks to the world like nothing more than extrajudicial assassination. This horrifies and appalls my American sensitivities, and should offend yours as well. Yes yes – drones are certainly killing militants and insurgents, and probably even some actual terrorists… but under the current ROE we are seeing this UAV pilots firing heavy missiles at groups of people they have decided resemble their definition-of-the-week for “bad-guys”. Except that if these are enemy combatants, then we aren’t allowed to do this (by our own treaty obligations) when they happen to be attending a wedding full of civilians or in a village square with children all around them… That’s a war-crime. And yet we do. However, if these are ‘terrorists’ (exempt from the Geneva Convention) then we are obliged to attempt to arrest them (because under US and international law, terrorists are criminals, not enemy soldiers), and it’s using deadly force if they resist… but as you could expect with any police arrest in your neighborhood, they aren’t allowed to use high explosive and missiles if school children are standing around the suspects. So…. why the F&^# are we tolerating CIA operatives deciding who to kill without a the benefit of due process?! If it’s a military operation, why aren’t there military lawyers publicly defining the ROE, in accordance with UCMJ and US law?
What would Jefferson or Lincoln say if asked “Is it OK to purposefully choose to murder civilians when they happen to be standing near people we think *might* be a member of a ruthless adversary?”.

All we are accomplishing is our own ethical self-destruction, and creating a self-fulfilling prophecy out of Al-Qaeda’s claim that we are an immoral country that should be opposed. We should be trying to undermine their moral validity, and not lend it more credence. Trying to rationalize this kind of conduct is an exercise in self-delusion and tarnishes everything for which American is supposed to stand.

By: The_Traveler Sat, 09 Jul 2011 17:49:17 +0000 What downside? High technology and precision weapons notwithstanding, the “surgical strikes” drone enthusiasts like to talk about are on occasion anything but, resulting in “collateral damage”, the euphemism for dead civilians.

The enemy uses civilian homes, mosques, hospitals, anything to conceal himself. Civilian casualties are going to happen.

The fact is, civilian casualties are no where near the levels we’d see if we waged a nuclear or conventional war.

All those that would like to see us using Mustard Gas again, raise your hands.

By: poggy Sat, 09 Jul 2011 17:16:26 +0000 What happens when our gov’t turns the drones on us?

By: auger Sat, 09 Jul 2011 16:49:25 +0000 Mouse over the drone photo to reveal … “A supporter of religious and political part Jamaate-e Islami gives the victory sign…” Be careful whom you believe is benefiting from the use of any force. Our history in this area is quite checkered